Over the course of the past year, the popular shopping / entertainment district Universal CityWalk outside Universal Studios Hollywood welcomed two new expansions to its dining options: the restaurants Antojitos Cocina Mexicana and VIVO Italian Kitchen, both of which “serve up fine cuisine in a casual environment,” according to an official statement from Universal.

This past Tuesday, Laughing Place was invited to participate in an open house media taste-test event for the two new CityWalk locations, and I can confirm the above claim by saying Antojitos Cocina Mexicana and VIVO Italian Kitchen are indeed valuable additions to this highly trafficked gathering place for Southern California theme park attendees and fun-seekers.

Inside Antojitos Cocina Mexicana:

Antojitos Cocina Mexicana is “spearheaded by Executive Chef Gian Caterina who hails from Brazil” and features “eye-catching traditional Mexican decor in bold hues of oranges, greens, and pinks.” This eatery boasts fresh ingredients prepared to perfection, and the dishes we sampled that night certainly lived up to those expectations. We tried Ceviche with tiger shrimp, homemade tortilla chips with a variety of salsas and guacamole, Pollo Mole, Vegan Chorizo con Fundido, and Jicama Shrimp Tacos, all of which were delectable and kept us coming back for more.

Also available are Carnitas Nachos, Queso Fundido, Chicharrones de Pollo, Elote, and Sopa de Tortilla. Drinks on the menu at Antojitos Cocina Mexicana include Pepino, Blueberry Vanilla, Mezicalita, Partida Pear, Cadillac, and of course the Classic Mojito, among other tasty libations.

Over at VIVO Italian Kitchen, we found both indoor and “al fresco” dining areas, an open “expo”-style kitchen, and a very pleasant atmosphere at this spot which boasts “an array of palate-pleasing lunch and dinner menus” from Executive Chef Cyndi Tran.

Inside VIVO Italian Kitchen:

Guests at VIVO Italian Kitchen can choose from fine Italian cuisine items such as Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup, Creamy Garlic Mushroom Saute, Grilled Salmon, Chicken Piccata, Sausage Ragu, Calamari, Mussels Marinara, house-made Meatballs, a variety of Paninis, hand-tossed and hearth-baked Pizzas, and “a selection of innovative twists on classic pasta favorites” like Lasagna. The tastes we experienced were mouth-watering and delicious, in keeping with the consistent high-quality theme of the evening.

Tempting desserts offered up at VIVO Italian Kitchen include Chocolate Zucotto Vasi, Ricotta Cheesecake, Tiramisu, and homemade Gelato.

VIVO Italian Kitchen also features a full bar with “a variety of Italian-inspired cocktails conceptualized by an expert mixologist” such as Bee’s Knees, Margarita Fresca, Cucumber Cooler, Spritz Rosa, Old Fashioned Classico, and Hollywood Sunset. These potent potables can be enjoyed at the bar or with dinner in addition to a broad wine selection to compliment every meal.

Antojitos Cocina Mexicana and VIVO Italian Kitchen are both now open and welcoming visitors at Universal CityWalk Hollywood in Universal City, California. For more information and to make advance reservations, be sure to visit the official CityWalk website.



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